10 April 2021
I’m writing to thank you for the very supportive stance you have taken to concerns that peninsula residents have raised with you in regard to the HIF proposals. Your response has been widely shared and appreciated. We share concerns about the viability of the HIF project and lack of detail being shared by Medway Council.
I would also appreciate your thoughts on the number of houses being proposed as being required in Medway. Do you agree with me that Medway Council need to be reminded of the following taken from the government’s response to the recent consultation on “Planning for the Future”?
“Within the current planning system the standard method does not present a ‘target’ in plan-making, but instead provides a starting point for determining the level of need for the area, and it is only after consideration of this, alongside what constraints areas face, such as the Green Belt, and the land that is actually available for development, that the decision on how many homes should be planned for is made”. ……….It is for local authorities to determine precisely how many homes to plan for and where those homes are most appropriately located.”
My understanding is that Medway Council are concerned about the “repercussions” they would face if they do not meet the “challenging housing target numbers” being asked for by central government. Are these concerns valid in terms of loss of funds due to, for example the “new homes bonus scheme” or are they, as has been suggested to me, about the possibility of central government deciding they need to take over local government decision making? I am genuinely puzzled by the council’s position on this and interested in your comments.
Another point I would appreciate your opinion on is in regard to brownfield sites. According to the CPRE 2020 report there is space for 70,000 homes on brownfield sites in Kent. Do you believe Medway has as they claim fully exploited these opportunities within Medway alongside bringing empty property back into use?
It is understood that brownfield sites are more expensive to develop and unattractive to developers. Surely the cost of building on grade 1 agricultural land, removing a green lung from Medway and contributing to carbon emissions by building the wrong houses in the wrong places is a much higher “cost”?
My last comment is that I am concerned that the despite the large number of houses being proposed, the housing needs of many of the ‘most in need’ in Medway will not be met.
Thanks again for supporting the people of the peninsula. I look forward to your response.
High Halstow Parish Councillor
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